In this Getty Images photo, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Truist Park in Atlanta on Wednesday. (Getty Images)
In a vintage performance backed up by late run support, Toronto Blue Jays' ace Ryu Hyun-jin has picked up his third win of the season.
Ryu threw seven strong innings against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta on Wednesday (local time), allowing just a run on five hits while striking out six in a 4-1 victory.
Ryu improved to 3-2 and lowered his ERA from 3.31 to 2.95. His 94 pitches were one shy of his season high.
Ryu is the only Blue Jays starter to go at least seven innings this year, and he has done it twice.
The only blemish for Ryu at Truist Park was the solo home run by William Contreras in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Blue Jays quickly tied the score in the top sixth, and then Teoscar Hernandez blasted a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh.
Hernandez then added insurance with a two-run shot in the top of the ninth.
Ryu looked sharp early on, recording five strikeouts over the first three innings using his full mix of pitches: two with the cutter, two with the changeup and one with the four-seam fastball.
After a one-out single by Atlanta starter Max Fried in the third inning, Ryu retired two dangerous hitters at the top of the order on just four pitches. Leadoff Ronald Acuna Jr. flied out to deep center after getting out in front of a first-pitch changeup, and then Freddie Freeman, the reigning National League MVP, struck out on three pitches.
Ryu worked around a one-out single by Ozzie Albies in the fourth. At his typically efficient self, Ryu needed just 51 pitches to get through the first four frames.
Fried matched Ryu pitch for pitch and held the Blue Jays to one hit through four, and then the Braves had the ice breaker in the bottom fifth, thanks to Contreras' towering solo home run off Ryu's changeup.
It was the fifth dinger served up by Ryu this season.
Marcus Semien responded for the Blue Jays in the top sixth with an RBI double, extending his hitting streak to 11 games in the process.
Ryu escaped the bottom sixth unscathed after giving up a two-out double to Austin Riley, and that set up a late rally for the Blue Jays.
With Fried out of the game to begin the seventh, the Blue Jays immediately took the lead. Hernandez greeted reliever Luke Jackson by driving a first-pitch fastball over the center field wall for the go-ahead solo shot.
Now staked to a 2-1 lead, Ryu returned to the mound for the seventh inning and retired the side in order to keep the team in front.
Ryu was lifted for pinch hitter Santiago Espinal in the top eighth, and he watched relievers Tyler Chatwood and A.J. Cole slam the door shut over the final two innings.
Ryu got the first-pitch strike on 21 of 27 batters he faced. (Yonhap)